Isometric training 101


Have you ever failed a rep in the same position over and over again? Like, why won’t my body just work for me here?!

Getting stuck in a lift is no fun. Especially when it’s the limiting factor from you hitting a personal record in the lift. There are many potential reasons for missing a lift. But if your technique is pretty dialed in, then it is most likely a strength issue in that particular range of motion. 

Luckily, there are many training techniques to eliminate specific weaknesses, and one of the best ways is by incorporating isometric protocols into your training. 

Isometric, as the name implies means “relating to or denoting muscular action in which tension is developed without contraction of the muscle.” Boom. Science.

That means you train the muscle without moving it. If you have a weakness. It means holding the muscle in an isometric contraction at (or around) the range of motion you want to improve.

Seem pretty simple right? It is!

You can use isometrics in the middle of your movement as well. You can incorporate a pause during the eccentric (lowering) of the weight, at the end range of motion to eliminate the stretch reflex, or during the concentric (raising) to increase muscle fiber recruitment.

“Act the way you’d like to be and soon you’ll be the way you’d like to act.”

Bob Dylan

From there you can apply all different kinds of techniques depending on what your goal is: improve strength, hypertrophy, or activation. 

Isometrics can really help you build maximal strength. Target the position that you want to improve, your “sticking point”. Perform a ten-second isometric hold at this position with a moderate to heavy load. The goal is to stay locked in this position to increase motor unit recruitment and stimulate muscle fiber growth. The body adapts to the stressors placed on it. By stressing a weak point the body goes to work to make it stronger.

You could apply this to a sticking point on your squat or bench press, as well. You could perform a deficit deadlift and hover the bar at ground level to develop pulling strength from the floor.

If you are trying to build muscle, isometrics can work for you.

When performing a lift, you want to pick a rep scheme that you know you can hit while performing an isometric contraction at the top of each rep.

This works great for movements like chin-ups, dips, or glute bridges. Perform a 3-5 second contraction at the top of each rep where you contract your muscles as hard as you can before lowering down for the next rep.

Let’s say you have weak glutes or have difficulty activating them for a lift. Increasing time under tension with longer duration isometric holds is one of the best ways to improve recruitment.

A good example of this would be a single leg glute bridge isometric hold. Hold the lockout position at the top of the hold for :30-60 seconds, focusing on maintaining full hip extension. You will find your backside burning and shaking real fast! This can be a great warmup protocol for movements that you have trouble getting warm for.

Now that you have learned a little bit about isometric training think about how or where you could apply them to address an area you’ve been wanting to improve!

Four Health Metrics More Important Than Weight


For some strange reason, Americans have chosen the scale as their favorite way to track progress around their health.

People derive their sense of self worth based on the number facing up at them from between their feet. If you’re someone who draws any sort of emotional reaction, positive or negative, from the scale, then you may want to self-reflect and consider if there are better options out there. 

The funny part is that weight is such an inconsequential and ambiguous predictor of substance.

Just consider this: If you have three avocados-one freshly picked and hard as a rock, one brown soft and ooze, and one firm ripe and tender-which one are you going to slice open to make your guacamole with? It shouldn’t matter if they all weigh 170 grams, right?

What you are made of, how you feel, and what you are able to produce, are all factors of greater significance than your weight. 

What you weigh is going to constantly fluctuate. You may lose weight and be less healthy. You may be well-hydrated one day and performing well, then get totally thrown off because your weight went up a pound or two.

This number doesn’t say who you are as a person or how healthy and fit you are. It’s just an arbitrary number. Stop letting the pounds run your life and change the way you feel about yourself. Instead, try one of these alternative ways that measure success off the scale!

Body Fat Percentage

Body fat percentage is an alternative way to track your progress and provides much more actionable information than just your weight in pounds. This takes into account your lean muscle mass. In this way you can actually gain weight in muscle which would consequently reduce your percentage of body fat. This is a clear example of how gaining weight would make you healthier.

Plus, as you add more muscle to your frame, you will burn more calories at rest. The fat will disappear faster on its own!

Measurements

Taking specific measurements is a great way to achieve the goals around the way you want to look. Measuring neck, arm, waist, hips, thigh, and calf circumference can help you transform your body without ever worrying about the scale. Losing two inches off your waist will make you look and feel like a whole new person!

Habit Tracking

One of the best replacements for weighing yourself is to track daily health habits. If you track metrics like sleep, hydration, servings of veggies, daily walking, and other relevant habits, you can focus on the right behaviors to make you look and feel great in the long run. This takes discipline but it is essential to long lasting transformation.

Performance Metrics

Switching your focus to the weight on the bar is a great alternative to the scale. People will often train harder and longer in pursuit of strength and performance goals than solely for aesthetic purposes. If you push yourself more in training the results will speak for themselves!

The Importance Of Stress For Your Health


Did you know that a little bit of stress can actually maximize your performance?

If you’ve ever been in a flow state and totally lost track of time immersed in the task at hand, you know know how astounding it can be to snap out of it. You were so focused that you didn’t worry about bills, external relationships, and the little worries in life.

It turns out that time spent in a flow state is one of the highest corollaries to a fulfilling life. The more time you spend in flow, the happier you are. It also turns out that flow is the best way to get good at a particular skill- assuming the activity meets some key criteria. 

The Yerkes Dodson Law examines how as arousal increases, so does performance. When you are pushed slightly beyond your comfort zone, you get hooked. Locked in flow you will continue to push yourself, just barely keeping up with the challenge that is inches from your grasp. They even assigned a specific value to the degree of difficulty. If the level of the challenge is approximately 4 percent greater than your current skill, you will be most likely to get into a flow state.

If you think about great athletes, musicians, artists and other high-performing individuals, you will see countless examples of them rising to the occasion.

Completing the game winning drive as they march their team down the field and scoring with just seconds left on the clock. Playing a guitar lick faster and faster, immersed in sweat and the roar of the crowd.

These folks are locked into what they are doing beyond what conscious mind and ego can interfere with. They are fully present and immersed in the task at hand.

It is important to find the thresholds in your life where you can push yourself and grow. If you feel like a task is too easy, you will quickly lose interest and find yourself bored.

If it is too difficult, you will feel like it’s hopeless and not actually give your best effort. Find the challenge that is engaging and challenging yet attainable if you truly want to get the most out of yourself!

 

How to Fuel Up for your Workout


If the weights ever feel heavy after your warmup sets, or you find yourself coming out of the gate too hard during the WOD, you’re not alone. Rather than crumple into a pile of gasps and sweat, maybe you should consider fueling up DURING your workout. 

We all know how important fuel is to building muscle. The right nutrition can heavily impact your path towards your goals, both negatively or positively. In this article, we’ll talk about the right way to approach your workout nutrition, depending on your fitness goals.

The body needs carbohydrates, proteins and fats in order to function. The body will use whatever fuel is available to keep functioning and get you through your workouts.

As we talk about what to sip on during your workout, your goals on how and what you want your body to use as fuel is important. But before we dive into some ideas to help you towards your goals, be sure you’re getting your nutrition on track overall.  Otherwise, getting into the specifics won’t really help you. Getting your nutrition right around your workouts has to be your first priority. If you’re not already eating well around your workouts, focus on the basics first before incorporating intra workout nutrition.

If performance or building muscle is your priority, this one’s for you.

In order to build muscle, your body needs enough calories for all of its normal daily functions, and then some. For those interested in building muscle, incorporating carbohydrates and protein during your workouts will ensure your body isn’t breaking down your valuable muscle to keep your workouts fueled.

Powders that are easily digestible will be easiest to take during your training sessions. There are many supplements out there with simple carbohydrates and protein.

For protein sources, look for whey protein isolates or hydroslates or even a high quality branched chain amino acids (BCAA) powder. Pair this with an easily digested carbohydrate source such as dextrose, maltodextrin, or glucose. A good rule of thumb is 30 grams of carbs per hour while strength training and 5-10 grams of protein or bcaa’s. Do your homework, stick to clean ingredients and avoid anything you can’t understand. If it sounds like a chemical, it probably is.

If your primary goal is to lose fat, and hopefully maintain the muscle mass you’ve got, your best bet is going to be to sip on BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) during your workout. You want your primary fuel source to come from your fat stores, so adding a simple carbohydrate supplement won’t benefit you until you’ve lost the fat you’re looking to lose.

Taking BCAAs helps your body use those easily digested proteins for fuel before breaking down your muscles. Fat is hard to utilize during your workouts, so your body will have a tendency to try to break down what’s readily available, which in this case are your muscles.

Please don’t try to guzzle a shake before you jump into Fran or another high intensity metcon, either.  That will have you running to the bathroom. Your may become extremely nauseous since the body is trying to push fresh blood flow to your working muscles and can’t effectively digest at the same time.

Instead, sip on your shake during your power lifts and Olympic lifts then finish it off AFTER the metcon. 

Above all, always sip on water throughout your workouts and get real about the kind of work you’re doing. Giving your body what it needs to perform is essential to your goals. Be smart and do what’s right for you!

9/3/2019


Grand Trunk CrossFit – CrossFit

Warm-up

4 rounds

:20 BB good morning

:20 BB thruster

:20 situps

:20 leg swings

Mobility

:90/each banded hamstring (off the rig)

:90/each banded shoulder (whatever they need)

Metcon

Metcon (Time)

For Time:

800 Meter Run

50 Barbell Thrusters (75/55)

400 Meter Run

25 Barbell-Facing Burpees

800 Meter Run

50 KBS 53/35
20 MTC- if you think you will be over its ok to scale the run to your ability

-15-20 minute range

-majority of today’s workout will likely be spent running

– find a run pace that allows you to go big on the thrusters and KBS

Running sub:

800/400m row

air runner 700/300m Run

Weightlifting

Deadlift (4×15)

4 Sets:

15 Unbroken Deadlifts @ 50% of 1RM Deadlift (same weight)

– some could share a bar

-not for time but do with little rest in between

-The goal is to rest the minimum amount of time it takes, and to complete the next set unbroken

-If you don’t know your 1RM deadlift, estimate a weight that you could complete 60 total deadlifts in 4 sets of 15

9/2/2019


Grand Trunk CrossFit – CrossFit

Warm-up

dynamic…

Mobility

pigeon stretch

Metcon

Danny Dietz (Time)

1 mile Run

26 Power Cleans (185/135 lb)

80 Push-Ups

1 minute Rest

600 meter Run

28 Front Squats (185/135 lb)

50 Pull-Ups
On a mountain high in the Hindu Kush of Afghanistan, in a deadly firefight with the Taliban, Navy SEAL Danny Dietz refused to quit, even though he had been hit four times.

Shot in the neck, he fell to the ground, but recovered to jam a new magazine onto his rifle. When ordered to fall back, he leaped off a precipice with the rest of his team, hit the ground, crawled to cover from incoming fire. Half-conscious and covered in blood, he was still providing covering fire for his team when he was struck by a fatal bullet. Ge died on June 28, 2005.

The steadfast determination that Dietz displayed in that long and brutal battle earned him the Navy Cross for valor and was evident more than a decade before, when the Littleton teen turned his life around after being kicked out of two high schools and landing in court three times.

8/29/2019


Grand Trunk CrossFit – CrossFit

Warm-up

3 rounds

:30 lunges

:30 HS hold

:30 sit-ups

Mobility

barbell smash quads and traps

Metcon

Metcon (AMRAP – Reps)

On the 2:00 x 5 Sets:

50′ Single Dumbbell Overhead Walking Lunge (50/35)

Max Strict HSPU in Time Remaining
-Rounds begin on the 0:00, 2:00, 4:00, 6:00, and 8:00

-DB weight should be something that allows you to complete the 50′ in 1 minute or less

-With the remaining time in each window, complete as many strict HSPU as possible

-recommend balancing things out by going 25′ on the right and 25′ on the left

Strict HSPU SUBS:

-kipping HSPU

-seated DB strict press

Metcon

Metcon (No Measure)

4 rounds

1:00 Run or Bike

1:00 kipping C2B pull-ups

1:00 DU or DU practice

1:00 pistols
no measure, just keep moving and work on some weaknesses

SUBS:

Kipping C2B pull-ups

-pullups

-banded pullups

ring row

pistols- work with a bench, curtsy

8/30/2019


Grand Trunk CrossFit – CrossFit

Warm-up

4 rounds

:30 KBS

:30 BB front squat

:30 air runner

:30 strict T2B

Mobility

laying front rack stretch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9U0JGGNx9Y&feature=youtu.be

couch stretch

Weightlifting

Power clean+hang squat clean+squat clean

power clean and squat clean come from the ground, while the hang squat clean starts above the knee
Every 1:30 x 7 Sets:

build to a heavy complex

Metcon

Metcon (Time)

3 Rounds:

400 Meter Run

7 Power Cleans 115/85

7 Hang Squat Cleans

7 Squat Cleans
Rx+ 135/95

400m Run outside near power lines or can be 325m on air runner

choose a weight that you could cycle for 20+ cleans UB when fresh

-Single power cleans or small sets can set you up nicely for the harder 14 reps that follow

8/28/2019


Grand Trunk CrossFit – CrossFit

Warm-up

4 rounds

:20 slow DB front squat

:20 DB shoulder press

:20 WB cleans

:20 tempo pushups 3/1/2

Mobility

pigeon :60/each side

couch :90/each side

banded shoulder straight arm :90/arm

Weightlifting

front squat/back squat

7/13 squat cycle
Alternating On the Minute x 10 (5 Rounds):

3 Front Squat (0-1:00)

6 Back Squats (1:00-2:00)…

Barbell: if this is your first time use 60-65%, if you did this last week and had success do 5-10lbs more

Metcon

Metcon (Time)

30-20-10:

Dumbbell Power Snatches (50/35)

Wallballs (20/14)

Directly Into…

10-20-30:

DB Facing Burpees

Calorie Row
-complete all reps on the alternating DB power snatches and WB before moving on to the DB facing burpees and calories on the rower

-no rest between the first part and the second part

-great way to look at this rep scheme is to notice there are as many total reps in the 20-10 as there are in the round of 30

-think about going 15-15 or 20-10 to start things out

8/27/2019


Grand Trunk CrossFit – CrossFit

Warm-up

3 Rounds:

20 Second Superman Hold https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0bQ8PiGa80&feature=youtu.be

100 Meter Run to dumpster or air runner

10 AbMat Sit-ups

10 Ring Rows

5 Walkouts https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92eVXZWgA8g&feature=youtu.be

Gymnastics

Metcon

Metcon (No Measure)

4 Rounds:

:90 sec Row + 3-5 Unbroken Ring Muscle-ups
not scored, get the practice of working through the rower then getting on the rings for MU, or getting on the rig for pull-ups

RIng MU substitutes:

3-5 Bar MU

4-7 C2B pull-ups (kipping)

4-7 pull-ups (kipping)

4-7 banded pull-ups (kipping)

10 MTC

Metcon (Time)

On the 5:00 x 5 Rounds:

400 Meter Run

12/9 Calorie Assault Bike

15 Toes to Bar
-The goal with this interval work is to train large sets of T2B with an elevated HR.

-Rounds begin on the 0:00, 5:00, 10:00, 15:00, and 20:00

-Your score today is the slowest of the 5 rounds

-Choose variations and distances that allow you to complete the work in less than 4 minutes, giving you at least 1 minute to rest

SUBSTITUTIONS:

400m Run or 400m Row or 325m Air Runner

T2B

Reduce Reps

Feet as High as Possible

Knees to Elbow

Knees to Chest